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Letters to the editor

How’s this a good deal?


RE: Village parking deal great for VANOC, W-B and province, not so good for local taxpayers and regional visitors.

Despite asking lots of questions at the recent public open house regarding paving the Village Day Skier Lots, I can't figure out how this deal benefits the local and regional population. Whistler-Blackcomb gets released from their obligations under their ski area operating agreements with the province to maintain, snowclear and operate the village day skier parking lots. The province gets released from any liability for the Fitzsimmons slump on Crown land above the village. VANOC gets an improved paved surface for media and others to occupy during the Olympics without having to pay for it.

What to the citizens of Whistler get?

1) Responsibility for building a debris flow barrier to protect against the slump (estimated cost $7 million without any design completed).

2) The cost of paving and improving the lots and installing a pay and display parking system (estimate $4.5 million).

3) Ongoing responsibility to maintain and snow clear the lots.

4) The privilege of paying for parking that used to be free.

5) If the numbers work out, there might be a reduction in transit fares.

This looks like another case of the taxpayers of Whistler picking up everyone else's costs. Although the article in the Pique mentioned that other North American ski resorts have pay parking, they neglected to include the fact that pay parking typically goes hand in hand with free transit, there is almost always a free parking option connected by a free shuttle system, and many of these other ski areas have season pass rates of over $500 per year per person less than the early bird rates at Whistler-Blackcomb.

How can we spend thousands of dollars writing about affordability in the 2020 document and then implement something that goes right to the bottom line of local and regional families? A car is still the most practical and efficient way to transport a family from low density housing into our urban centres. Until a convenient and free transit system is in place to do this, we should not be talking about pay parking for high occupancy vehicles unless we really don't want local and regional families visiting our $14 million Celebration Plaza and $12 million library.

Jill Almond